Former NFL head coach and current ESPN analyst Herm Edwards paid a visit to another former NFL coach on Tuesday. Edwards was in Champaign to visit Lovie Smith and his Illinois football program. While there, Edwards was scheduled to give the Illini a good old-fashioned pep talk. He’s good at that.
This is a reminder that the NFL coaching fraternity remains a strong bond over the years. Smith and Edwards were never a part of the same coaching staff in the NFL, but the two have remained friends over the years. Smith having these types of connections should be exploited at every opportunity to help promote the Illini program and boost it when needed. Edwards has been a vocal supporter of Smith, so it makes sense Smith would have his pal stop by and do what he does best. And he’s done it a number of times…
At Alabama in 2013…
Or the previous year before the Las Vegas Bowl…
Or this past summer with NC State…
Illinois is 2-5 this season and now flirting with the likelihood of not going to a postseason bowl game in Smith’s first season on the job. We’ll see if Edwards is able to give the program the extra juice it needs.
Here’s hoping we get some video footage of Edwards speaking to the Illini.
The World Series gets underway tonight in Cleveland. The Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs are each looking to bring an end to a championship drought that dates back over 70 years. The Cubs are playing in their first World Series since 1945. The Indians have been back to the Fall Classic a small handful of times since last winning a World Series in 1948. There are three college football programs from the Power Five that have similar droughts they continue to look to end, as far as a conference championship is concerned.
No team has waited as long to win a conference title than Iowa State, who last saw a conference championship in 1912. That came in the old Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association. That conference would pave the path to the old Big Eight Conference, which of course later merged with departing members from the Southwest Conference. As the conference has evolved, Iowa State has struggled to compete for a conference crown.
The only two conference championship droughts comparable to the current droughts of the Cubs and Indians reside in the SEC. Mississippi State has not won a conference championship since 1941 (SEC), and Vanderbilt has to go all the way back to 1923 for its last conference title (Southern Conference). Playing in the same conference as college football powers like Alabama, LSU, Florida, Tennessee and Georgia over the years has not allowed for much opportunity for either SEC program, and that likely will remain the case for many years to come.
While not quite as long of a wait, Western Michigan looks to be on track to snapping their conference championship drought that goes back to 1988. The Broncos are undefeated and have a favorable schedule the rest of the way, aside from a regular season finale against Toledo. Western Michigan head coach PJ Fleck gave the Cubs a pep talk during a stop on SportsCenter this morning.
Row the boat, Cubs (or Indians, depending on your rooting interests)!
Longest Conference Title Droughts By Conference
ACC: North Carolina State (1979)
Big 12: Iowa State (1912)
Big Ten: Minnesota (1967)
Pac-12: Arizona (1993)
SEC: Vanderbilt (1923)
American: Temple (1967)
Conference USA: Rice (1994)
MAC: Ohio (1968)
Mountain West Conference: New Mexico (1964)
Sun Belt Conference: New Mexico State (1978)
It’s now officially official.
In discussing what he described as a “dirty” hit that knocked him out of the North Carolina State game Oct. 15 with a concussion, Wayne Gallman indicated Monday that he would be available and play in Clemson’s huge showdown with Florida State this Saturday. A day later, the running back’s head coach very emphatically confirmed the back’s availability Saturday coming of the football program’s by weekend.
“He’s going to play great,” Dabo Swinney said. “He practiced the whole practice and didn’t miss a rep. He’ll play great on Saturday.”
Gallman currently leads the Tigers in rushing yards (489) and rushing touchdowns (five). Because of the concussion, Gallman was limited to a season-low 14 yards on two carries.
In last year’s 23-13 win over the Seminoles that clinched the Tigers a berth in the ACC title game, Gallman rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown. His 25-yard touchdown run with 2:34 remaining iced the win.
Tuesday, one wagering website revealed it doesn’t see the postseason sky falling on the Buckeyes, either.
In its latest set of odds, has placed the Buckeyes at 9/2 to win the 2016 College Football Playoff. While that’s longer odds than the 11-4 OSU was getting a week ago, just one team sits ahead of them: Alabama at 8/5, slightly shorter odds than the 9/4 the Tide got last week.
Michigan (6/1), Clemson (7/1), Louisville (9/1) and Washington (9/1) are the only other teams to receive single-digit odds. The Wolverines, at 7-1 Oct. 18, are the only one of that quartet of teams to see their odds shorten.
Below is the complete set of 2016 College Football Playoff championship odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv: